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Calcium & Weight Loss

Calcium and weight loss

If you are trying to lose weight and minimize your body fat, many research studies suggest that maintaining a diet high in calcium should be a high priority.

In this article we discuss the role of calcium in our diets, why calcium is important to people wanting to achieve or maintain a healthy weight, what foods have the best sources of calcium and provide tips to increase your daily calcium intake.

Benefits of Calcium.

Most nutritionists agree that in order to make sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy you should eat the widest possible variety of foods.

This principle is often overlooked by dieters who restrict the types of food they eat in order to lose weight.

If your diet is restrictive, or is simply low in calcium and calcium rich foods, you would be well advised to remember that calcium helps the body to function in many important ways.

For example, calcium is believed to help:

  • Strengthen our bones and teeth
  • Help our muscles function properly
  • Regulate our heart
  • Keep our nervous system healthy
  • Activate and regulate certain enzymes and hormones such as insulin
  • Our body metabolize or burn body fat
  • Us to lose weight more efficiently.

Good sources of Calcium.

Generally speaking, foods that are good sources of calcium include yoghurt, cheese, milk, ice cream, baked beans and other dried legumes, dried figs, broccoli, most dark-green leafy vegetables, and soft fish bones like those in canned salmon.

Of course, if losing weight is important, opting for the lowest fat choices of these foods makes sense.

Other sources of calcium include:

  • Clams
  • Oysters
  • Sardines with bones
  • Shrimps
  • Tofu
  • Almonds
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Hard Cheese
  • Ricotta
  • Brie
  • Parmesan
  • Bok Choy
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • English Muffins
  • Pancakes

How much Calcium do we need?

It has been estimated by an Australian Nutrition Survey that around 90 per cent of women and 70 per cent of children do not achieve the recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium.

According to the Australian Food and Grocery Council's Food Science Bureau, the recommended dietary calcium intake per day varies depending on factors such as age and gender. The recommended daily dietary intake of calcium in the following table from the NHMRC is designed to cover the needs of most people.

Recommended calcium intake per day:

Category Recommended
Daily Intake
Adult women 19-54 800 mg
Adult women, pregnant 1100 mg
Adult women, breastfeeding 1200 mg
Adult woman, after menopause 1000 mg
Infants, 0-1 year 300-550 mg
Children, 1-7 years 700-800 mg
Girls, 8-11 900 mg
Girls, 12-15 1000 mg
Girls, 16-18 800 mg
Boys, 8-11 800 mg
Boys 12-15 1200 mg
Boys, 16-18 1000 mg
Men, 19-64+ 800 mg

Depending on the stage of life and the duration of the deficiency, inadequate calcium intake can lead to sometimes debilitating effects such as poor bone formation, weak bones, osteoporosis and poor dental health.

Calcium and Exercise.

Exercise is particularly important to those of us who want to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

Because of the role that calcium plays in helping us maintain healthy muscles, bones and heart, calcium is a vital nutrient to those of us who are active.

However, because calcium can be secreted through sweat, overly active people may require even more calcium than most.

Tips for increasing your Calcium intake.

When it comes to increasing our calcium intake, natural sources are widely regarded as superior.

Here are some ways to increase your calcium intake or absorption daily:

  • Choose at least 2-3 servings of low fat dairy foods each day such as milk, cheese or yogurt
  • Look for opportunities to add nonfat dry milk powder to your recipes
  • Consume calcium sources throughout the day instead of all at once
  • Excessive amounts of fiber, protein, caffeine, alcohol and sodium may inhibit calcium absorption or increase excretion of calcium and should be limited
  • Weight-bearing exercises help to increase calcium retention

As always, if you are unsure about whether or not you are getting the right amount of calcium or you want to increase your calcium intake in the healthiest possible way always consult a qualified dietitian or nutritionist. And to find out exactly how much Calcium we're getting in our diet, reading food labels and looking up the Calcium content of the foods we eat on the Food Nutrition Tables available free on this website is a must. And before beginning any exercise program, always consult your doctor.

Conclusion.

If you are trying to lose weight and minimize your body fat, many research studies suggest that maintaining a diet high in calcium should be a high priority.

In this article we discussed the role of calcium in our diets, why calcium is important to people wanting to achieve or maintain a healthy weight, what foods have the best sources of calcium and provided tips to increase your daily calcium intake.

For more information on the importance of calcium in your diet consult any of the great dietitians listed in the weightloss.com.au business directory by clicking on this link: Dietitians

We hope you found this article useful and interesting.

Thanks for visiting weightloss.com.au.

Copyright Ultimate Weightloss.

This article was written by Scott Haywood.

Scott is the editor of weightloss.com.au. Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch weightloss.com.au in 2005. Today, weightloss.com.au provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.

You can follow Scott on Google+ for more interesting articles.

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